The picture shows Rachel, who received support from Cancer Support Switzerland,

Rachel’s Journey with Metastatic Breast Cancer: From the UK to Switzerland

Having been diagnosed in the UK with primary breast cancer in 2011, it was a shock to have it return in 2017 as incurable, stage 4, metastatic breast cancer (MBC). My former healthy and exercise-motivated self had struggled with the initial diagnosis so this time, with my tribe by my side, I wanted to do this journey differently. My UK oncologist introduced me to a centre with a breast cancer support group, something I had previously avoided, and it was a lifeline of hope.

When my husband was offered a new job in Switzerland it was an exciting opportunity. My oncologist gave us his blessing as I was stable on my second line of treatment which I would be able to continue in Switzerland. I moved to Zurich in 2019, leaving our two young adult daughters in the UK.

Adapting to Life in Switzerland

Settled, we were able to take trips back and forth and have family visits. However with COVID-19, we became a family torn apart, trying to navigate the different national restrictions whilst supporting each other from afar.

I found Cancer Support Switzerland via Instagram, where I am sharing my journey of moving overseas with MBC. A follower living with MBC in Geneva pointed me to the group.

Finding Support During the Pandemic

I was feeling disconnected and concerned at the time and wanted to chat with those going through the same.

With the pandemic, the support was online, so I could join the Bosom Pals coffee mornings for breast cancer patients and a second support group.

Meeting online in a safe and friendly space was mentally rewarding, and gave me purpose. We stand by each other in difficult times, helping each other heal in our hearts. Those with experience guide those who come behind. These groups have made me laugh, cry, reflect, and know that I am not alone.

In 2022 the cancer progressed to my brain, requiring surgery to remove a larger tumour and radiotherapy to zap smaller ones. Whilst there is nothing like face-to-face meetings, I am grateful that Cancer Support Switzerland offers online support.

Going through treatment is hard, but travelling to centres can also be tiring. I have visited the Centre once – it is a beautiful, relaxing and peaceful space. I wish I lived nearer! Everyone made me feel so welcome.

Thank you for being there, for what you offer and for your reach which has found me new friends near my village too.

Getting Help and Support

If you or someone you know needs help, Cancer Support Switzerland is here for you. You can reach out to us via our email, or phone for support and information. We’re here to provide the care and connection you need.

Would you like to learn more about our services? Click here to see a full list of all our services.

The picture shows Rachel, who received support from Cancer Support Switzerland, She is standing outside on a cement sidewalk with trees behind her.
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